Lesson plan

Earth Connections

Talking about erosion, pollution, and human destruction of the rainforest can help open up a whole new understanding of the world to young students. This lesson will help students to connect their lives with a bigger picture.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards

Students will be able make connections between their lives and situations in a story.

(5 minutes)
  • Call students together.
  • Read students RainforestBy Helen Cowcher.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask students to turn to a partner near them to discuss what they heard in the story. It can be helpful to provide prompting questions like: "What happened in the story? What do you think will happen next?"
  • Come back together as a whole class to discuss these conversations. What did students learn from their partners?
  • After students have shared, ask if anyone made any personal connections in their discussions. Explain that a personal connection is when they relate something in a story to their own lives. For example, a time when there was a lot of rain and a tree fell over in their yard. Or a trip to the beach where they saw the tide rising.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students take a moment to think-pair-share with a classmate sitting near them about an experience from their own life that connects with Rainforest.
  • After students have explored their ideas with a partner, explain that they will be going back to their seat to write about this connection in their writer’s journal (including a picture).
  • Before sending students off to work, make sure to review any expectations for independent/partner work periods (i.e. staying seated, not talking above whispers, raising a hand to get the teacher’s attention, etc.) and ask if there are any last questions.
(15 minutes)
  • As students are working, any adults should be circulating answer questions, encouraging students, and taking anecdotal notes.
  • Playing quiet classical music in the background can keep student talking to a minimum.

Support:For students who would benefit from a little extra help, working in partners or small groups can help to scaffold the task. Sentence starters along with a word bank or word wall can help students with needed vocabulary. For students struggling with the fine motor skills necessary, pencil grips can provided key assistance.

Enrichment:For students who need a greater challenge, have students work with an adult to “publish” something about their connection to the rainforest.

(5 minutes)
  • Anecdotal notes taken during group conversations and student work periods can be used to gauge student enthusiasm and the ability of students to make connections between the story and their lives orally.
  • Student journals can be reviewed to determine whether on not students were successfully able to make a connection between their own lives and the story.
(10 minutes)
  • Call students back together.
  • Ask students to share from their journals as they feel comfortable.
  • Once students have finished sharing, ask students to brainstorm ways that they can help protect rainforests.
  • Now that students feel this connection, encourage students to read other stories about rainforests.

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